Series review: Curon
- This supernatural drama directed by Fabio Mollo and Lyda Patitucci boasts an exceptional setting and a captivating plot, but the results are mixed
If you want to get an idea of how powerful the setting of an audiovisual work can be, we give you Curon, Netflix’s new Italian original series, available from today in 190 countries around the world, courtesy of the global streaming platform. The driving force of the story, in this mystery-thriller-paranormal seven-parter series directed by Fabio Mollo (South Is Nothing [+see also:
interview: Miriam Karlkvist
film profile], There Is A Light [+see also:
interview: Fabio Mollo
film profile]) and Lyda Patitucci (once Matteo Rovere second unit director), is an old church bell tower rising out of a lake, a ghostly and evocative image which stays with the viewer throughout.
The series’ location is a real-life place found in Curon Venosta, in Italy’s Alto Adige region, where an old town encircled by mountains was flooded by an artificial dam, with only this strange bell tower rising from the water to remember it by. Straightaway, a legend was born: it’s said that on certain nights you can hear the bells ring, despite them being removed some 70 years ago. In Curon, the peeling of the bells is a harbinger of death for he or she who hears them, and this is why Anna (Valeria Bilello) fled her natal town when just a teenager, following her mother’s tragic death. But now she’s back in Curon after a 17-year absence and in the company of her twins - the rebellious Daria (Margherita Morchio) and the more fragile Mauro (Federico Russo) – with whom she was pregnant when she first left town. No-one seems happy to see her again, especially her father Thomas (Luca Lionello), who lives like a hermit, shotgun in hand, in the old family hotel now fallen into disuse.
Another character affected by Anna’s return is the fascinating and unsettling Albert (Alessandro Tedeschi), a forest ranger married to the meek and subservient teacher Klara (Anna Ferzetti) and a father to teenagers Miki and Giulio (Juju Di Domenico and Giulio Brizzi). We sense that Anna and Albert share some kind of past, and when the young woman suddenly disappears, Albert’s involvement is immediately assumed. But nothing is as it seems in Curon and while Daria and Mauro keep on looking for their mother in the woods, later helped by their peers, secrets, mysteries and repressed desires begin to emerge. These involve the entire community (starting with the young Lukas, played by Luca Castellano) and are all linked together by the sound of the bells and the excruciating headaches striking anyone who hears them. The lake has reawakened.
“There are two wolves living inside each of us: one calm and gentle, the other angry and merciless; our nature depends on which wolf we decide to feed”, Klara explains to her class of students. The central theme in Curon is identity, the search for self, and the shadows that inhabit us all. The fact that the series is set in a place also characterised by duality of an ethnic kind (Italians/Germans) - and where the old town under the lake is in continual dialogue with the new one - further enriches the plot, lending additional layers and lines of thought. The overall result, however, is highly irregular: the dialogue isn’t always up to scratch, some of the actors’ performances are somewhat over-egged (the best among the youngsters is that of Morchio, while Ferzetti wins out among the adults) and certain elements and actions seem intended only to confuse. Furthermore, a number of revelations come far too late (when everything’s been clear for some time) and there are too many little inconsistencies (scenic, textual, editorial) undermining this otherwise captivating work, which, ultimately, could have been written better.
Curon is produced by Indiana Production and is available exclusively on Netflix from today, 10 June.
(Translated from Italian)
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